Matt Dempsey, Sen. Jim Inhofe’s communications director
After Sen. Jim Inhofe’s (R-OK) family mocked Al Gore by building an igloo in snow-crippled Washington, DC, the Wonk Room had some questions for Matthew Dempsey, the communications director for the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. In an email exchange that took place on the afternoon of Wednesday, February 10th, Dempsey decided to deflect our questions with his own:
WONK ROOM: Does Sen. Inhofe believe that the disastrous weather that is shutting down the federal government raises the sense of urgency about addressing climate change?
DEMPSEY: Brad – thanks for your email. Are you suggesting this blizzard is a result of global warming?
WONK ROOM: I’m just asking whether Inhofe believes that these killer storms raise the sense of urgency about reducing the risk of climate change.
DEMPSEY: Thanks – it sounds like you are attributing the blizzard to global warming (or if you prefer, “climate change”), is that correct?
WONK ROOM: I believe the climate system is deterministic. Global warming, climate change, take your pick. Is my question unclear?
DEMPSEY: You haven’t answered my question yet, do you believe this blizzard is the result of global warming?
WONK ROOM: I asked you first.
But because you asked nicely, I believe that the climate system is deterministic — in other words, particular weather events are unique instantiations of the state of the climate system, which has been perturbed by anthropogenic forcings.
Do I believe that a climate system that hadn’t been perturbed by man-made warming could have generated storm patterns largely equivalent to this year’s? It’s certainly possible, although there’s no record of it happening.
But this is just my attempt to interpret what you mean when you ask whether weather “is the result” of radiative forcing, which doesn’t really make sense.
DEMPSEY: [No response.]
After I wrote about the Inhofe igloo, Dempsey criticized ThinkProgress for not being able to take a joke. On the other hand, it seems he can’t even take a question.